CD Review: “Profane Nexus” by Incantation

You can never underestimate the old guard. Incantation has spewed blasphemous, twisted death metal for 28 years. The band’s blend of death and gothic sludge has placed it in the upper echelons of extreme metal. After a six year hiatus, Incantation showed the metal world it could still the deliver the goods with its 2012 release, Vanquish In Vengeance. That creative kick continues on the group’s tenth album, Profane Nexus. “Muse” commences things in demonic fashion with a hypnotic guitar riff that explode into a cacophony of churning riffs. Vocalist and guitarist John McEntee’s guttural vocals are audible in the chaos, as if he is screaming from the depths of hell. On “Rites Of The Locust” the main spiraling riff perfectly parallels the drumming, like a demonic army marching off to war. Special attention should be paid to the slow paced coda with its grinding drums. Another highlight is the deformed beauty of “The Horns Of Gefrin.” The colossal, galloping opening instantly grabs the listener before it is interrupted by spurts of blast beats. It is an unpredictable song that transitions from fast to slow with a dynamic mid-section and tribal drums. “Lus Sepulcri” is an aggressive, straightforward track with roaring drums and dissonant guitars. The militaristic nature of the music differs from the twisted compositions the band is known for which makes it standout. “Ancients Arise” concludes Profane in grandiose fashion. It is a plodding, disturbing doom metal track reminiscent of Celtic Frost in its simplicity but sheer heaviness.

Profane Nexus is death/doom done right. It is not too complex, nor are the musical compositions clumsy. This should not surprise anyone as Incantation helped pioneer the sub-genre. The unorthodox riffing makes this an interesting album that is not generic in the slightest. Production wise this album is loud with a slight polish. It is not a perfect sounding album, which is good as that would detract from the menacing tone of the songs. It is a pulverizing but technical record.

Well, three albums into its comeback and Incantation are still on a roll. There are newer death metal bands that play more complex music than Incantation, but these groups lack the feel of the latter. Incantation do not play intricately for the sake of showmanship. The band’s dark message reflects the brutality of the music, which can be both elaborate and simple. Profane Nexus is another great release from this trio.

For news and tour dates, check out the band’s official website:

https://www.incantation.com/

CD Review: “In His Infernal Majesty’s Service” by Witchery

Blackened thrash metal supergroup Witchery return after a six year absence with its sixth hellish offering, In His Infernal Majesty’s Service. “Lavey-athan” storms from the abyss like a demon ready to devour innocent souls. The track is full on thrash with chainsaw guitars and punkish drumming. The stomping midsection gives way to an eerie clean guitar and a whispered verse before ending on a heavy note. The chaotic “Netherworld Emperor” is a pugilistic track that strikes from all angles. New drummer Chris Barkensjo showcases his skills here as the track has several time changes but maintains a consistent groove. “Nosferatu” is the initial single and one can see why with its galloping riffs and frontman Angus Norder’s shrieking vocals. The band’s black metal roots show on this track with its dissonant riffs and the atonal guitar lead. Things speed up on “The Burning of Salem” which recalls early Slayer. The suffocating riffs sound like a fiery whirlwind while the drums manage to keep up. The apex of the song is during the middle when we hear a man identifying himself as Salem’s magistrate sentence several defendants to death by hanging. History certainly comes alive on this track. A haunting organ opens up “Escape From Dunwich Valley”which grooves from start to finish. Guitarists Jensen and Rikard Rimfalt put their stamps on this track, as this track as a major Black Sabbath vibe.

 In His Infernal Majesty’s Service main strength is the diverse songwriting. The band draws from death, black, death and even doom metal to forge some unpredictable but dynamic songs. Witchery refuses to play within any parameters, but can play in the pocket when necessary as seen on “Escape From Dunwich Valley.” Musically, the band members all hail from some of metal’s most revered bands. Bassist Sharlee D’Angelo plays in Arch Enemy, guitarist Jensen plays in The Haunted and lead guitarist Rikard Rimfalt played in Seance. These guys can play melodic metal or straight thrash at the drop of a coin. We see this throughout Majesty and it gives the record an extra kick.

The six year absence certainly has not dulled Witchery. In His Infernal Majesty’s Service would please the Dark One as only Witchery can do. It is pure blasphemous heavy metal that rarely lets up. Fans of the band member’s main bands should pick this up as should fans of extreme metal. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and this is the soundtrack for the journey.

For news and tour dates, check out the band’s official Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/officialwitchery/